Page 77 - Simply Abu Dhabi Magazine VII

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Y
et another example of the sheer opulence available to visitors to the
Avenue is the Hermès boutique on the second floor. RDAI, the French
agency responsible for the architecture of all the exquisite Hermès
stores worldwide since 1978, has overseen all the work, and has aimed to
capture the spirit of the original Parisian Hermès House. The store covers a
total of 295 square metres. Visitors enter through a champagne claustra façade
before reaching the amazingly luminous intimate space. It’s accessible via two
separate, side-by-side entrances, and flanked by stunning tall vitrines.
One of the beautiful touches that makes visiting this boutique such a
compelling experience is that the louvres that make up the façade are
intermittently interrupted, allowing light, and glimpses of the interior, to filter
through. These horizontal lines are reminiscent of those of the Hermès Dubai
and Kuwait stores. They are carried into this store’s interior, through the cut-
outs and openwork of its interior.
Each entrance opens onto matching Hermès “ex libris” designs, which are set
in the mosaic floor of linen, red and white tiles. We’ve seen the same designs
at the Hermès flagship store in Paris, at 24, rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré. It
was thrilling and inspirational to find this echo of the world-famous Paris store
here in Abu Dhabi.
There are a huge range of Hermès products here. Initially, visitors encounter
the Silk, Perfume and Leather areas. I have to say that one of the most amazing
parts of the store is the Silk universe. The beautiful mirror-finished panels are
sandblasted with a horizontal-striped pattern, which makes them an ideal
accompaniment to Hermès’ carrés (their famous square silk scarves). At the
same time, the panels reflect the floor’s mosaic pattern, which has the effect
of extending and softening the space.
Hermès’ beautiful Art de table universe is central to the store, as it would be
in any elegant home. It is graced by a chandelier, and the modernist lines of
Jean Michel Frank’s furniture. Other amazing sections of the store include
leather craftsmanship, Equestrian, Ready-to-Wear (for bothmen and women),
and the stunning Jewellery and Watches area. This can only be described as
the store’s pivotal point. Its key position is reinforced by the wonderful effects
of the boutique’s design, which draw the visitor’s eyes, and then they
themselves, through the store and to this space. Once you reach it, you are
enveloped in gorgeous red lacquered panels. The use of cherry wood – for
example in the display cabinets, which are lined in pearl-beige Ottoman fabric
– further emphasises the warmth of this space. The cut-out sculptural
elements that make up the store’s dividers are also astonishingly pretty – they
just seem to float above the mosaic floor.
The store brings together each of the Hermès’ universes while allowing visitors
privacy and space, and enabling each métier to communicate with the others.
Moving through the store, visitors encounter more intimate spaces, each
devised as a private salon, with their own materials and forms. Each Hermès
universe welcomes visitors with its own style – but it’s all connected via the
central corridor. It’s quite like a quintessential Parisian apartment.
We love the way that the varied heights of the ceiling reflect the atmosphere
of the surrounding universes — it’s higher for the more public areas, such as
Equestrian, and lower for the more personal areas, like Ready-to-Wear. The
niches and sculptural effects that divide the spaces not only provide display
areas, but also open the private salons onto each other. Again, differentiated
ceiling heights and the widths of the walls add to both the sense of “passage”
and to each universe’s sense of individuality, through which visitors discover
the store. Superb mosaics have been delicately employed throughout the store,
with this ancient zoning technique in evidence in the scatter pattern of the
central corridor’s floor, contrasting with each area’s individual patterning.
The dynamic atmosphere of the store is reinforced by the subtle variances in
the colour of the spaces. Overall, the stucco is white, but the Women’s Ready-
to-Wear, for example, features beige stucco, and is bathed in the radiance from
the red hues of the Jewellery andWatch area facing it. This increases the space’s
fabulous feel of intimacy – and the familial aspect is enhanced by the stunning
leather chairs – which were designed by Rena Dumas and manufactured by
Poltrona Frau, exclusively for Hermès. Already superb, they are further
enhanced by being arranged on the exquisite velour carpeting.
With its dazzling multiplicity of ambiences, accessible through the cut-outs in
walls and accentuated by differing ceiling heights, Hermès AbuDhabi provides
visitors with a beguiling sense of the interplay of public and private. We were
delighted by every aspect of the boutique – from the rich visual effect of the
flooring, to the moulded glass globes of the lights (designed for Hermès in
1925 and featuring the Greek meander pattern) and the very real sense of being
in a Haussmannian apartment. It all came together to provide a very
contemporary translation of the timeless values of the Hermès house on the
Faubourg Saint Honoré in Paris.
For more information please visit Hermès at
Find Hermès on Facebook via
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